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Lawrence Frank should rely on veterans less

In a CBS Sports evaluation of several NBA questions at the quarter-point of the season, Matt Moore picked Lawrence Frank as his most disappointing coaching performance:

Matt Moore: It pains me to say this because I think he’s limited by his roster and will work out in the long-run for the Pistons, but Lawrence Frank has disappointed. Signing veterans with limite upside and impact isn’t his fault, but relying on them is. The pieces are there for the Pistons to come together, but it simply hasn’t so far this year.

I don’t really see what else Frank could do, to be honest. I think he is actually playing his young players quite a bit. Brandon Knight moved into the starting lineup early on, Greg Monroe has a primary role in the offense and Jonas Jerebko is playing about 30 minutes a game. The knock many people have is probably in reference to Austin Daye, but his mix of an injured ankle and poor shooting has made it harder to give him consistent minutes. Other than Vernon Macklin, a marginal prospect at best, there’s not much more youth on the roster that Frank could be playing.

But hey, it’s not all doom and gloom from CBS. Royce Young thinks Knight has an outside shot at Rookie of the Year:

Ricky Rubio is the first quarter ROY, and Kyrie Irving is right there with him, but don’t count out Kemba Walker and even Brandon Knight, who had quietly been playing well in Detroit early on.

Knight will certainly get the minutes to have a shot at the award, but his production will have to drastically improve to catch Rubio and Irving.

29 Comments

  • Jan 24, 201210:22 am
    by Nwdavis1

    Reply

    Frank’s coaching grade at any point of the season really depends on how he is being judged: If his job is to help the Piston’s players “gel” and become a better team in the long term, then he shouldn’t be relying much on the vets. However, if Joe Dumars really believes that he has assembled a good roster (and I think he may be foolish enough to believe that he has), then he will be judging Frank on a wins/losses basis and Frank will be trying his hardest to win every game, and that requires him to put his best players on the floor.
    Some people may want to see this team lose as many games as it takes to get a good lottery position but if that is not Dumars’ goal, then it is in Frank’s best interest (not the Team’s) to keep winning. You can’t really blame him for trying to impress his boss especially given how quickly Dumars has dispatched the previous coaches.
    Personally, I’d like this team to continue trying as hard as it can to win every game. The roster is bad enough that the losses will come naturally.

  • Jan 24, 201211:32 am
    by Jodi Jezz

    Reply

    Its not Frank’s fault…The one we should point the finger at is Dumars for constructing this roster and not making any trades…We need a scoring SF and a defensive big man…I don’t care if we trade our 2012 1st rounder if we can bring in proven young talent…Why isn’t Dumars looking at players like Beasley and JaVale McGee, both those players are in the dog house with there current teams, there young, and both have upside…All this high character BS is racking us up L’s…We need young talented players that can compete and bring our team an identity…Time to wake up Dumars!..

    • Jan 24, 20122:35 pm
      by tarsier

      Reply

      It is virtually impossible to contend without a superstar. If you think Monroe is going to be a superstar (or Knight or Stuckey I guess–but thinking that of those two would make you a crackpot), then such a trade suggestion as 1st rounder for McGee makes some sense. Otherwise, HELL NO!! I love McGee, but he is not a superstar and never will be. And very soon he’ll need to be on a big contract. You gotta hold off on paying big for supporting talent until you’ve landed the superstar. Otherwise, the best you can hope for is to someday become another Indiana/Philadelphia/Denver/Portland. A very respectable team, but a darkhorse contender at best. No thatnks. I’d rather be patient and try to become a Chicago/Miami/OKC/LA/Dallas/San Antonio/Orlando type team.

      • Jan 24, 20123:10 pm
        by apa8ren9

        Reply

        You are correct sir,  you start paying the major bucks for the bigs/final pieces once you have something to build around we are still searching for someone to build around.  We have 2 potential prospects but they have a ways to prove themselves worthy of that. Let me co-sign your point – we are trying to win CHAMPIONSHIPS, not just be the hot flavor that gets the highlights.

      • Jan 24, 20123:20 pm
        by Jodi Jezz

        Reply

        We contended 7yrs without a superstar, why would we need one now…I’d rather have an overall great team instead of 3 superstar and a bunch of garbage players…McGee might not be a superstar but he is a good young defensive minded player and he’s a 7 footer…I think we might have a future Duncan in Monroe and a future Billups in Knight, so I think it’s fair to trade our 2012 1st rounder for proven young talent…It would be a tragedy to the Pistons organization if we wait till the draft and get a player that bust…We got lucky in drafting good players like Monroe, Knight, Jonas, and Stuckey, but now we need to make sure we keep the roster talented…

        • Jan 25, 20122:19 pm
          by tarsier

          Reply

          The Pistons did contend without a superstar, proving it is possible. But that was the crazy exception, not the rule. It is a very difficult thing to do and basically only worked because Wallace and Billups were on Gortat-esque contracts. And it was in one of the most severe league-wide talent droughts. All the 90s stars were gone and it lasted until the 2003 draft class really bloomed. A superstar is the tried and true method. Now, if we could get McGee for say Jerebko, I’d love it. But with a team in the pits like the Pistons, you can’t trade away a chance at a superstar for McGee unless you really believe Knight or Monroe is destined for superstardom or you wanna take your really long odds to try to recapture 2004 Pistons magic. If that is the case, you better hope you can resign McGee for under $8M, Knight for under $6M, and Monroe for under $10M.

  • Jan 24, 201212:14 pm
    by Laser

    Reply

    A lot of this comes down to roster limitations, but it’s easy to point to Damien Wilkins’s usage as a real problem. Ben Wallace’s to a lesser extent. Mostly becasuse these guys aren’t going to be a part of the team’s future. So if you’re losing games at a whirlwind pace by going with band-aids, you may as well lose with young guys who (1) have an excuse, (2) have something to offer the team in the future, and (3) can use the minutes.

    Even if I trusted the organization to assess and manage talent (prospects espacially), I would rather see more of Daye and Macklin. Given that I don’t trust the organization one bit, I REALLY want to see those guys play.

    • Jan 24, 20122:45 pm
      by tarsier

      Reply

      Agreed. This is what keeps getting me about Dumars:
      1) He appears to genuinely think this team has a shot at the playoffs.
      2) He appears to believe that would be good for this team even if carried by band-aids.

      Daye really should be out there. What do the Pistons stand to lose? A couple games? Yeah, that’s really all. And heck, given any reasonable projections for the Pistons’ record this season, playing Daye couldn’t cost them more than about 4 wins. It’s not like he has any trade value left to lose. If he really, really sucks, play him for the rest of the season and then decline his team option, it’s that simple! Of course, with regard to his PT, I have no idea whether to blame Dumars or Frank.

      • Jan 24, 20123:22 pm
        by apa8ren9

        Reply

        Now I disagree with these points you made.  There is no way you can believe they are going to the playoffs.  You cant outright say that your team sucks cause you still have to sell tickets to suckers, oops I mean customers.  Teams with legitimate stars are struggling through this schedule with injuries and adjusting to the pace of the games.  No one thought even after 5 games that we could make the playoffs let alone 17-18 games.
        To your second point.  The bandaids are there until you can get somebody who deserves the minutes.  Daye doesnt play because being on the court is a disservice to the other 4 guys.  He’s hurt, he sucks, whatever excuse you want to make for him.  When he starts to play better, he will get time.  Right now he cant make a shot, set a screen, dribble or rotate defensively.   And you dont blame Dumars or Frank, you blame Daye.

        • Jan 24, 20124:38 pm
          by D_S_V

          Reply

          It looks like tarsier was saying that Dumars believes that, not that tarsier does. And until I saw the Joe Dumars “rebuilding/only making moves to help for future” statement, I figured Dumars still thought his team could compete as well. The problem is that Dumars said this after resigning players this offseason that have helped contribute in this disaster. In retrospect, I’m OK with the Stuckey contract because he’s young and has the chance to play up his trade value. Handing out a 4 year deal to Tayshaun, however, was just… wrong in my opinion. A veteran whose production doesn’t really give us anything in the short term and crowds a position where we have young unknown commodities at. If Tayshaun were at Stuckey’s point in his career, I’m fine with it, but this is Richard Hamilton all over again. I’d rather have Damien Wilkins’s twin brother on the team on a one year contract. As far as Frank’s job as coach, can’t argue too much… would like to see Daye on a more consistent basis, but judging on his production, I don’t think he’s Afflalo 2.0, Afflalo was a baller, even in shortened minutes. But yeah, if we’re arguing about whether Austin Daye needs more playing time, then you know this is a roster full of shit. We’re 4-14, I’m down with playing Hooper if he’s got a jump shot.

        • Jan 25, 20122:26 pm
          by tarsier

          Reply

          Right, I don’t believe the Pistons can make the playoffs, I think Dumars seems to. As for Daye, he hasn’t earned minutes. And it would be great if he did. And if his PT were costing the Pistons elsewhere, I’d agree. So for instance, don’t stop playing Prince, because he needs trade value so something can be gotten for him. But Wilkens is doing nothing for the Pistons. He might help get another win or two more than Daye. But wins are useless to the team right now. The off chance that playing Daye 30 mpg might get him back on track is worth trying for no other reason that it won’t cost the team anything else. If Singler were available, I might sing another tune.

        • Jan 25, 20122:27 pm
          by tarsier

          Reply

          If you honestly believe that Daye being on the court would hamper the development of the players playing with him, that is a fair point. I just don’t think that is the case.

          • Jan 25, 20124:41 pm
            by apa8ren9

            I see where you are coming from and I dont think we have come to the point in the season yet where you say screw it and just give Daye minutes like that.  I do believe he is screwing up that bad right now.   Maybe you do it the last 2 weeks/10 games of the season or something like that.  He has to respond to the challenge on some level.  Im rooting for the guy at the same time I say he sucks, because he has a skill set that can be very useful down the line on a good team. We’ve seen flashes of it.

  • Jan 24, 201212:18 pm
    by neutes

    Reply

    My only complaint, and it’s mild, is that I’d like to see more Macklin. Frank’s playing Maxiell a little more than I’d prefer, but it’s not like there are a ton of other options on this roster. Dumars just signed Prince for 4 more freaking years! So it’s not like he’s going to favor Daye, especially considering the fact he’s horrible, over Prince. The young guys that matter are getting playing time, the two that probably won’t ever develop into much aren’t, but unkowns will always be intriguing until they are known.

    • Jan 24, 201212:48 pm
      by Mateo P

      Reply

      I on;y hope he is playing Maxiell more to possibly move him and another player for a sorely needed second 1st rd pick.

  • Jan 24, 201212:32 pm
    by Steve K

    Reply

    It’s certainly not Frank’s fault.

    I wasn’t thrilled when the Pistons hired Frank, but I’ve actually been pleasantly surprised. He’s tried various rotations, seeking the best mix/chemistry. He’s upgraded Monroe’s role in the offense, and he’ thrown Knight to the fire. He’s also experimented with Stuckey off the bench. He seems to be doing the best with the cards he was dealt.

    The last thing the Pistons need is another coaching change.

    How about a GM change?

  • Jan 24, 201212:51 pm
    by Mateo P

    Reply

    I see Knight being the 3rd or 4th best rookie at this point of the season. Behind Rubio, Irving, and maybe Shumpert.

    • Jan 24, 20121:31 pm
      by neutes

      Reply

      Rubio, Leonard, Irving, and Brooks have all been much much better than Knight. Shumpert is right there along with Markieff Morris and Derrick Williams. Or how about Parsons? Or Biyombo coming on of late? Or if Kanter played more? Looks like a pretty solid rookie class, unfortunately Knight is nowhere near the head of it, but he’s been alright. Oh and wait for Valanciunas.

      • Jan 25, 201212:25 am
        by BAD BOYZ 810

        Reply

        Are you serious???? knight is no lower then 3rd or 4th in the rookie rankings,besides rubio  knight is the only rookie to have double double. He won the head to head battle against all the rookies you named but his ream loss. We can’t forget that knight plays on a team with way less talent.

  • Jan 24, 20121:30 pm
    by rick77

    Reply

    Dumars does not own the team he just makes moves with ok of the owner. If gores is ok with it then why does he not deserve the blame? The team has some alright pieces in place and with time because the NBA goes in circles we will win again. We wil get some talent already playing on someones team and some unknown talent as well and then boom. I think it is hilarious that we all think the drafy will cure what ails us. Please cite the last young NBA team that won an NBA title. Their has to be a delicate balance of youth and veteran leadership or else it will fail. How do we know the rest of the league even wants to deal with Dumars? Far as we know these guys are like hell no even if Dumars offer up something that makes sense. We dont know and until we do its speculation and finger pointing at best. sure I would like to have what Oklahoma has but I bet when they come to Detroit they want we have up in the rafters. Be patient man we cant win all the time. Dumars has his faults but the man can only do so much. I belive everyone would hate the man if he owned the team and he doesnt he just runs the personel department with a salary cap. Biggest mistake in last three years  was Ben Gordon. But he has time to correct it and if Gores belives in him then I guess I do as well.

    • Jan 25, 20122:29 pm
      by tarsier

      Reply

      Because it’s not Gores’ job to know much about basketball. His job is to OK or veto moves based on if the money involved is too steep. It’s Joe’s job to make smart basketball decisions.

  • Jan 24, 20122:23 pm
    by apa8ren9

    Reply

    Well Im in Dumars’ camp so that is the bullseye on my back I guess, but we seem to be arguing 2 different points.  Frank plays the guys he thinks will help win.  Dumars provides the players with input from the coach and looks at the long-term overall view of the franchise.  Frank is the day-to-day guy trying to win games and make players better.  There is no evidence what so ever to think that if Macklin and Daye were deserving of minutes they would get them.  You dont play guys just to play them.  They are professionals and just like every other profession you have to earn it.  (even if they only play basketball) And we’ve got 40 something games left so they will get plenty of opportunities to play.  People begged for Knight to start and guess what he is starting.   JJ is getting 30 minutes a game whether he starts or not.   Monroe is getting all the minutes he can handle.  So I ask why are those 2 the exceptions? Its been said before.  Maybe because they arent that good.
    The season was a throw away as soon as it started.  The new CBA was a money grab by the owners and they are getting paid this year, so the attendence – while anemic, I dont believe is making them panic.   If Dumars was not the guy he would have been fired like every other longtime Piston exec, but that didnt happen so he’s going to be there.  Bottom line is lots of commenters want to get to the lottery – well we are going.  For those who want Dumars fired – maybe we should debate who could do a better job.  I think that would make for better comments than I hate Dumars everyday.   You have to wait, there is no other alternative.

    • Jan 24, 20122:59 pm
      by Max

      Reply

      The Thunder announcers addressed the topic of Daye’s struggles for minutes last night and said it was easy to see why Frank was limiting him given how badly he looked on the court on defense.
      BTW: The team has actually been than I really expect when Stuckey has started and they haven’t been outright horrible when he has played at all.   However, they got killed just about every game he missed and I think they lost all of them.
      I disagree that the vets have been playing too much and think Pistons fans have been spoiled by winning for so long, haven’t gone through an average rebuilding period since Isiah Thomas was drafted and as a result, have little to no idea what rebuilding should look like.
      As near as I can tell, the teams that generally look to the lottery and d-league for talent and don’t play veterans because they are playing for the future never improve—they simply turn over young players from epoch to epoch and gather no momentum unless they get really lucky and draft a Shaq or Kevin Durant–a player you can’t not improve with.
      Stop playing veterans and trying to win each game if you want to be the new Clippers–and I don’t mean this year’s new Clippers.

  • Jan 24, 20123:29 pm
    by frankie d

    Reply

    macklin and daye are the 2 biggest issues as far as PT is concerned.
    monroe and knight are no brainers, especially because stuckey is still not completely healthy, as is very obvious, if you watch him closely.  jj established his hold in the rotation two years ago and his contract solidified that hold.
    so the real decisions regarding young players and PT are with daye and macklin and in both situations, he constantly relies on his veteran security blankets.  
    watching the game last night, with the lead around 25 points, it seemed crazy to still have ben out there late in the 3rd quarter when you have a young big man on the bench.  
    can macklin play? who knows, but you sure aren’t going to find out by playing him for 8 minutes at the end of a 30 point blowout.
    i’ve gone over the daye thing to the point where i’m tired of writing about it, so i will leave that alone, other than to say that the coach needs to commit to keeping daye in the rotation until he plays himself out of it.
    the myth that young guys haven’t “earned” minutes in whatever mysterious fashion they are supposed to earn it, has been shattered by years of evidence to the contrary, where young guys have worked hard, kept their noses clean and still rotted away on the bench while retread vets stumble around on the court instead.
    sadly, frank looks like one more mediocre/poor coach who desperately tries to hang in with predictable, lmited vets who at least don’t blow up in his face, as younger players sometimes do.  it’s the difference between a guy like frank and a guy like doug collins.

    • Jan 24, 20124:38 pm
      by Max

      Reply

      So the differences between Collins and Frank as coaches hinges on the PT he gives Daye and Macklin……really?  Their very different personalities, ages, experiences, that one was a #draft pick player and the other has never played in the NBA-and maybe their philosophies too?   These are not the differences, but rather whether he plays Daye and Macklin?   And I’m sure Collins has gotten his share of haters for not playing Turner or Speights enough.  Negative people are just negative and they are everywhere.
      Let me ask you some basic questions:
      How will you feel if Macklin and Daye both get 20-40 minutes combined a game the final month or two of the season and what would be the difference at that point they didn’t get a lot of time during the first month?
      Isn’t the question of whether or not to amnesty BG or CV by assessing their play a bigger question for the team at this point than assessing Daye and Macklin’s ability to contribute as of this moment?
      Doesn’t it make more sense to play veterans at the beginning of the year when you are still fighting for something, when you know you are likely to not be fighting for anything but internal improvement the last couple of months of the year?   In my opinion, you are wrong to think a coach should think it’s his job to just throw away a season prematurely no matter how bad things might look going in.
      Aren’t the veterans more ready to contribute in general than either Daye or Macklin?
      Hasn’t Daye gotten his chances and doesn’t he continue to get his chances?
       
      BTW: Poor Flip…………..never liked him all that much, but the reality is that they will not find a better coach easily and probably not anytime soon.  Coaches always take the fall because people never properly address the notion of who will replace them.

      • Jan 25, 20122:32 pm
        by tarsier

        Reply

        I’m all for giving minutes to CV and BG to determine who to amnesty/figure out if either can get any trade value whatsoever. My biggest argument is against giving minutes to Wilkens.

  • Jan 24, 20126:18 pm
    by frankie d

    Reply

    “So the differences between Collins and Frank as coaches hinges on the PT he gives Daye and Macklin……really?”
    i wrote nothing of the sort.  what i did write is there for everyone to read, but what you just indicated, is utterly false.
    the proof is there for everyone to see.  collins basically has turned his team around by playing young players.  he’s been extremely paitent with them, even sticking with meeks as meeks went through a daye-like slump.  not only did he keep playing meeks, but he kept starting him and meeks repayed him for his patience by putting his foot up detroit’s derriere with a 17 point 4th quarter explosion that helped philly beat detroit.  that game broke his slump.  collins method is a proven way of helping young players develop.
    doing what frank is doing with daye is a proven way of stunting their development.
    this statement makes no sense:
    “Isn’t the question of whether or not to amnesty BG or CV by assessing their play a bigger question for the team at this point than assessing Daye and Macklin’s ability to contribute as of this moment?
    Doesn’t it make more sense to play veterans at the beginning of the year when you are still fighting for something, when you know you are likely to not be fighting for anything but internal improvement the last couple of months of the year? ”
    if joe d doesn’t know whether he will amnesty either player by this point, he’s a worse GM than i thought.  whatever his decision, he clearly has enough evidence already to make an informed decision.
    the idea that is doesn’t matter when daye or macklin play is equally nonsensical.  there is a little thing called the trade deadline. hopefully you will have a good handle on your roster by that point.  by that point you should know if you have an asset that you can turn over for something valuable; or whether you should dump a player you’re facing a contract issue on.  as is the case with daye.
    there is also the little thing about developing players who can actually win games for you.  heaven knows it is a wild idea, but both macklin and daye just might be good enough to actually help the team win  and the idea that you should remain in the dark about that possibility and keep relying on inadequate but safe vets boggles the mind.
    macklin just might give the team 15 -20 minutes of rebounding and 5-10 points a game.  he’s given tantalizing hints of being able to do so.  daye just might start shooting the ball the way he has his entire career.  both events would have a very positive impact on the team’s ability to win games.  this fan thinks that other fans just might want to encourage that possibility, instead of getting a nice, fuzzy, secure feeling watching limited, old vets who  really cannot play anymore stumble around the court.
    dave mayo over at mlive gets it, and today he writes the best article i’ve seen on the daye situation.  he basically distills the essence of the situation about as well as it can be done.
    http://www.mlive.com/pistons/index.ssf/2012/01/detroit_pistons_need_to_discer.html

  • Jan 25, 20122:58 pm
    by Max

    Reply

    Collins has vets to play with young players and does play veterans Brand and Iggy.
    The problem with playing a lot of Daye, who is playing horrible, and Macklin is not just that they are young, but that if you put them on the court with Knight, Monroe and Stuckey, the team is probably the youngest lineup in the entire league with the least on-court experience in the NBA.
    I don’t think such a scenario is any bit ideal because it is difficult imagining the players even approaching the level of cohesion they have so far while playing the veterans and if things were breaking down any worse, the situation would be too demoralizing and so few plays would be properly run that the young players wouldn’t learn much except how to get used to sucking anyway.
    Finally, the amnesty option is not so obvious because they can only use it on one of them and their contracts are so different that it would be a hard choice even if you knew which player you thought was more valuable.  CV has screwed up process by twisting his ankle so they haven’t even gotten a look at him yet this year.    Further, the way the amnesty seems to be used suggests that a team should know how they will use money before amnestying a player and therefore, the amount of money needed might trump any decision based wholly on BG vs CV.   Maybe they like Gordon more but need his money to sign free agent.  It is not so obvious as you say.

  • Jan 25, 20123:01 pm
    by Max

    Reply

    Since you brought up trade deadline I will only say: BG and CV’s trade value at the deadline is absolutely dependent on them playing well and showing something before the deadline, whereas I’m pretty sure there are teams who’d be willing to trade for Daye and maybe Macklin whether they play or not. So there.

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